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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Better Together by Jessie Gussman - Book Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

Harper has worked hard for her successful academic career, but when her mother and husband need help at the family farm she doesn't hesitate and takes a break from work, even if it means risking the biggest achievement she might ever accomplish. Wyatt and Harper grew up together. They've been best friends ever since his uncle took him in. Harper's mother and Wyatt's uncle might be married, but Harper and Wyatt don't feel like brother and sister. Wyatt has a secret crush on Harper, but he doesn't think she's ever noticed him as a potential partner and Harper hides her feelings for Wyatt because she can't imagine he'll like her that way. Will they ever be brave enough to share what's inside their hearts?

Wyatt's father runs a resort in Chile. Wyatt is great at skiing and snowboarding and has won several prizes. He's athletic and a great asset to his father's business. His father is solely focused on his resort and doesn't understand Wyatt's need to help his uncle. To buy himself time he tells his father he's engaged and wants to spend time with his fiancée before returning to Chile for good. He asks Harper to join him for his next visit to Chile, so he can introduce her to the family. It's pretty difficult for them to remember their relationship is fake, but they're both so different, they aren't meant to be together, are they?

Better Together is an amazing heartwarming story. Harper is incredibly smart and hardworking. She's also kind, caring and sweet. Wyatt loves spending time with her. They always have fun, she understands him well and they can talk for hours. I liked their easy friendship, the constant challenges they give each other and their beautiful connection on many different levels. Wyatt is a wonderful man. He badly wants love and approval and Harper is the only one who truly knows him. I loved how close they are, their love feels natural, real and honest. Jessie Gussman perfectly understands what it means to be soul mates and the result is a gorgeous love story filled with many fantastic layers.

Jessie Gussman skillfully combines people, emotions and places and makes sure they all belong together. Better Together has such stunning settings. I loved the farm and its surroundings and the resort in Chile is impressive as well. Jessie Gussman effortlessly makes each place she's writing about come to life with fabulous vivid descriptions. Her writing has a lovely flow and she has a captivating tone of voice. I read Better Together in one sitting, I was completely enchanted by the story and didn't want to stop reading before finding out if Harper and Wyatt would get their happily ever after or not. Better Together is a fascinating feelgood romance with plenty of surprising twists and turns and breathtaking true love.

Advice

If you love a good friendship turning into true love story you don't want to miss Better Together.

About Jessie Gussman


Jessie Gussman writes sweet, contemporary and inspirational romance from her home in central Pennsylvania. She is the 2017 winner of the short contemporary category of the Catherine and the Marlene contests. She is a member of RWA and is contracted with City Owl Press and Pelican Book Group.

Jessie and her husband own and run several businesses from their rural farm. She also homeschools their five children.

Links

Website // Facebook // Twitter // Amazon

A Few of My Favorite Things
Guest post by Jessie Gussman

My kids have been listening to the soundtrack of The Sound of Music lately in the car. You know, A Few of My Favorite Things? Rain drops on roses and whiskers on kittens? It was written to soothe the Von Trapp children during a thunderstorm. I suppose that might work for girls.

But I had boys. First, anyway.

My boys would never notice anything like raindrops on roses. Maybe if it were pee drops on roses--or pee on anything, for that matter. Pee always makes a boy laugh.

Our last two children were girls; they are so different than boys. My youngest is sweetly naïve and believes almost anything. When she was eight, she heard my husband joking, joking, with a friend about how we needed to go up to the barn after the lights went out and rotate the tail feathers on our 15,000 laying hens so they’d lay eggs in the morning.

The next day, after my daughter’s dental appointment, the dentist came out to me in the waiting room. After giving me the low-down on how I’d be paying for her oldest child’s college education with the dental work my daughter needed, the dentist said, “I can’t believe how articulate your daughter is! It must be because you homeschool. She was telling us all about how you rotate the tail feathers on your chickens at night after the lights go out.” The doctor’s gaze was admiring. She shook her head in wonder. “I never knew you had to do that to get the chickens to lay eggs! That’s fascinating!”

Um…

Back in my own naïve young adulthood, I was two years into my degree when my husband, who had grown up around trucks, started a trucking company. I told everyone I quit school to keep his books, but it was actually because starting your own business means working 24/7, and I had started to believe in alien abduction, since I never saw my husband anymore.

Twenty-three years later, I’ve almost adjusted.

Last weekend my husband and I were heading eastbound on the interstate, hauling eggs back from Ohio, going about 75 mph. My door jiggled open. At that speed some people might wonder if their door will actually open. I can’t say about a car, but in a 379 long-nose Pete? Yes. Yes it will.

It was kind of interesting, watching the pavement fly by from a new and rather distressing perspective, as I leaned out, grabbing for the latch. I got the door shut and sat in my seat, panting. I hadn’t quite made it to the euphoria-from-having-cheated-death stage, when my husband, who never left off the throttle, because, you know, he’s a man, and we have to GET THERE FAST, looked over at me. “Wow. Wasn’t expecting that,” he said. With one hand on the wheel, he dug under his seat and handed me a wrench and screwdriver. “You mind checking the latch? I’d hate to lose that door.”

My husband was always interested in trucks—I should have seen the trucking company coming—but I really didn’t anticipate having five children. It took a little while for us to get with the program, but by the time they hit elementary school, in the midst of the chaos, we looked around at all those kids and said to each other, “What are we going to do with them?”

Hubby blames me, but I know it was his idea. We bought the 70 acres of woods beside us, put the kids to work clearing it, picking rocks, digging holes, lying irrigation. We bought a big, old trackhoe and rented a bull dozer and our early-teen boys learned how to use the stuff. I was banned from running heavy equipment after I ran over the lawnmower. The best way to get a new lawnmower is to bulldoze the old one. (My next book is going to be titled, Getting What You Want; How to Run a Bulldozer.) Eventually we planted the 10,000 blueberry bushes we trucked back from Michigan.

Today, as I write this, blueberry season is gearing up and those little balls of nutrition sell before we’ve even gotten them picked.

Trucks. Chickens. Blueberries. They represent some of my favorite things—now. Certainly when I was a young woman, I never dreamed they would. Life sometimes has a way of not working out quite the way we think it will.

But, really, my most favorite things aren’t things at all. It’s the husband who’s held my hand through this crazy life. It’s the laughter I’ve shared with my family. It’s the music we’ve made together while our backs ached from work made lighter by willing hands and cheerful hearts.

I love showing that pulling-together spirit in my books. The irony. The fun. The values people have and the hard choices they make. Titanium love. Steadfast devotion. Sacrifice. Basically, real life. That’s the kind of life I want to live, and those are the kind of stories I want to write. Life. Wrapped in love.

Giveaway

One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a signed paperback copy of Better Together and a $25 Amazon gift card from Jessie Gussman.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

72 comments:

  1. Better Together sounds like a sweet love story full of warmth and humour with charming and relatable characters.

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    1. Thanks! That was my goal as I wrote it—sweet and funny and relatable! : )

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  2. Congratulations on your new release and thanks for the awesome giveaway.
    This looks like a good book.

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  3. Thanks! Good luck on the giveaway! : ) There are so many amazing books on this site, I could have that 25 bucks spent in no time!

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  4. I laughed out loud at your story of running over the lawnmower! That's precisely the sort of thing I'd do!

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    1. lol! It’s one of those things that was NOT funny at the time, but is good for a laugh at every family gathering (gah!)

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    2. I suppose most families have those sort of stories, perhaps not quite as dramatic as yours though! I hope this does really well for you.

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    3. Yes, I'm sure you're right. : ) I, actually, have several stories of my own (about my boys) that I enjoy telling at those same family gatherings. Just this Sunday at the table (we were all gathered for Father's Day) my youngest son started to tell a (different, even more embarrassing) story about me, and I reminded him that I actually have BETTER stories about him. He changed his mind. lol

      Thanks so much! I hope so too!

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  5. I can totally relate to your favorite things - they are also mine. This book sounds really wonderful. I have it on my TBR list!

    Mary

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    1. A kindred spirit! The best things in life aren’t things—I don’t know who said it, but it’s true!

      Thanks so much for your kind words. I hope the book makes you smile. : )

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  6. I think it would be cool to live in rural Pennsylvania if I could restore some historic house!

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    1. There are so many pretty ones, that’s for sure! My parents live in a big old brick one, build at the turn of the last century, and my aunt lives in a 1700s farm house. Love those old houses! Lots of character. : )

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  7. Oh my gosh I seriously laugh your writing style ... it's so entertaining and hilarious too!

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    1. Thanks so much! I’m a very serious person (voted “most studious” in high school) who married a funny, crazy man. I had to learn to laugh, or I’d have gone completely bizerk! : )

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  8. Would love to win this book for my Mum who reads a lot.

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    Replies
    1. Good luck! I never, ever win these things, until last month, when I actually won a Goodreads giveaway!! I was thrilled.

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    2. Hey, Sue! Just wanted to share that there is also a giveaway on Amazon. It is only for an ebook for Kindle, and no gift card : ( BUT I can tell you that one out of every five entrants wins a copy. : ) I think it’s pretty painless to enter, too. No needles and you don’t have to give up chocolate for a month or anything impossible like that. : )

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  9. This looks very interesting and fun, would love to read!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! It was a lot of fun to write, especially Wyatt’s parts. Hopefully it’s as much fun to read! : )

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  10. I really love the cover. Sounds like a great read.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks. I love the cover too. It definitely represents one scene in the book, although there’s no picnic going on; they’re running from hornets.

      I appreciate your kind words!

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  11. Replies
    1. Thank you! It always makes me smile. : )

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  12. Sounds like a great read. Love the cover.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! Originally there was a big wine-type bottle on the blanket, but it kind of gave the wrong impression since there’s no wine in the book, so they took it out.

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  13. I liked the review, sounds good.

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    1. Suze writes great reviews, I agree! She did an outstanding job. I am honored to be on their site!

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  14. Wow! 70 acres. Also love your story about the door opening and watching the pavement go by.
    jan

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    1. We have blueberries on some, but our chickens are pastured. Takes a lot of acerage for 15,000 birds! That’s a family farm size.

      I always wear my seatbelt in the car, but when we’re in the big truck, I don’t. I guess because when we first started out, we had old equipment and the seatbelts never worked. So, anyway, having my door jiggle open is a great story now, but at the time, I wasn’t sure I was going to survive. When my husband said he didn’t want to lose the door, I couldn’t stop laughing. He almost lost ME!

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  15. Replies
    1. It was my pleasure! I was so excited when they told me they would have me on their site that I had trouble typing a reply, because I was doing a happy dance around the room. : ) I actually walked away from my chocolate bar, which—did I mention I have five kids? I don’t very often leave chocolate unattended. : )

      Honestly, I was honored. They have a fabulous site, the nicest readers, and I’m humbled and thrilled to be here!

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  16. Thank you for sharing your book with us. It sounds really good.

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    1. Thank you so much! The pleasure was all mine!

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  17. Replies
    1. Thanks. I hope people enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. : )

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  18. Replies
    1. Thanks! It has some good reviews on Amazon, so people must be enjoying it. : )

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  19. What a nice book. It's relevant to many

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    1. Thank you! I hope so. One of the themes I struggled to get "just right" was Wyatt's relationship with his father. It's complicated, as so often those relationships are. : )

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  20. Lovely post, I enjoyed reading :)
    Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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  21. Love the review. Thanks for sharing the book.

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    1. Suze writes great reviews! I am honored to share my book here. : ) Thanks for reading!

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  22. Thank you for informing me about this book.

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    1. This is a great website to fine engaging reads!

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  23. I want to dive into this cover! LOL It looks so inviting, thanks for the chance

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    1. Didn't they do an amazing job on the cover?? I agree completely! It makes me want to have a picnic! There's still an active giveaway on Amazon, too, if you want to increase your chance of winning! : )

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  24. The book sounds good, but I really enjoyed reading about a few of the author's favorite things! Very entertaining...

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    Replies
    1. Lol! Thanks! I had an 800 word limit. The favorite things were easy, but I’ve done so many dumb things over the years, it was hard to pick which ones to include. : ) I tried to write in the same “voice” that I wrote the book in, too. : )

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  25. This sounds like a very enjoyable novel

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  26. This is really interesting. It's also cool that you were in the trucking industry before. Thanks for putting this post together!

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    1. Thank you! I have a sweet romance coming out with Pelican Book Groip called Turbocharged, which is set in the trucking industry. The heroine in that book is a mechanic in her dad’s shop and has to take over his company and watch her step brothers. She knows nothing about babies and small children, and of course the hero does. : ) Hopefully it’s a fun book!

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  27. Titanium love - I've never heard that before. I love it!

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  28. I'm so excited to read it. Sounds amazing.

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  29. The cover of your book is lovely!

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  30. Sounds like an amazing story. I love the cover of the book.💕💕💕

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  31. Replies
    1. Yay!! I’m so glad you liked it! Thanks!

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  32. Jessie, it was a pleasure meeting you and learning about your book.

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  33. This sounds a thoroughly enjoyable book

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  34. Replies
    1. Thanks so much! People seem to be enjoying it, so that makes my heart happy!

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  35. Congrats on your book and I love the cover!

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  36. This looks like a great book. Congrats on your new release!

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  37. I absolutely loved reading this guest post and had some good laughs along the way. I have 4 girls and 3 boys and 40 odd years later still haven't fathomed why the boys were always so fascinated with pee and poop too!

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